Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Week

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Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Week

Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Week

Welcome Message

Welcome to NTM Disease Week at the ATS. Our goal is to provide helpful information on NTM diseases to patients, their families and other interested persons. 'NTM' is an abbreviation for 'nontuberculous mycobacteria.' The mycobacteria are a special group of bacteria characterized by having waxy outer walls that help protect them. The most dangerous member of the group is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB).  The term 'nontuberculous' refers to those members of the group that are not M. tuberculosis. Most of them live in water, soil and other parts of our environment.  They are called 'opportunistic pathogens' because they generally cause disease in patients with pre-existing lung disease, such as bronchiectasis caused by cystic fibrosis (CF) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by smoking.  However, over the past few decades they have been increasingly recognized in thin middle-aged and elderly women who have been never smokers and had not prior history of lung disease.  For unclear reasons, the rates of these diseases appear to be increasing in the US and other developed countries.

Pulmonary infections with NTM have been considered rare, but they are now more common than TB. However, many doctors do not have experience in diagnosing and managing pulmonary NTM diseases, leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment.  This can be frustrating for patients, who often feel isolated and confused. We hope that the information provided in our NTM Disease Week can help alleviate some of that distress and can help patients to better manage their disease and ultimately to feel healthier.


 

Kevin Fennelly, MD, MPH

Kevin Fennelly, MD, MPH
Chair, ATS Assembly on Microbiology, Tuberculosis, and Pulmonary Infections
Member, ATS Board of Directors
Staff Clinician, NHLBI

Susan Wisliceny

Susan Wisliceny
Executive Director, NTM Info & Research, Inc.
Member, ATS Public Advisory Roundtable

 

ATS NTM PARTNER
 

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NTM Info & Research (NTMir) is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed on behalf of patients with pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) disease for the purpose of patient support, medical education and research. NTMir serves patients and physicians concerned with NTM.